- There is a stark difference between Ramadan of last year when the pandemic first began and this year.
- Mosques have gone from being empty at the start of COVID-19 to communal prayers taking place this year with social distancing.
- African Tourism Board President calls for coming together as one.
Alain St.Ange, President of the African Tourism Board and Secretary General of the Forum of Small Medium Economics AFRICA ASEAN (FORSEAA) is currently on a working mission in Indonesia this morning. During his journey he paused to issue good wishes for a Happy Ramadan to the Muslim communities across the world as this sacred month comes to a close.
St.Ange said on behalf of the African Tourism Board that this period of celebrations must also be a time for reflection. “The world has changed since we entered the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than ever before, we need everyone, immaterial of color of the skin, religion, or nationality to come together as one and work together to tackle the post-COVID start-up of our respective economies. We all need this for our family, friends, and fellow countryman,” St.Ange said.
In the Islamic calendar, it falls in the ninth month and is recognized among the holiest of months. During the month-long period, fasting and prayer are at the forefront of day-to-day life. The very word Ramadan comes from the Arabic word ramad, which describes something that is scorching dry or heated intensely by the sun.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, as COVID-19 cases were spiking, vaccines were being administered while at the same time the government loosened restrictions. Mosques were allowed to open for Ramadan prayers with strict health protocols in place including social distancing. This was a far cry better than Ramadan in 2020 when mosques were empty as Muslims were urged to pray at home over the holy month rather than congregate in crowded spaces and risk spreading the virus.
And on the streets, malls and cafes were open, and passersby could again see curtains shielding the sight of food from people fasting. In neighboring Malaysia, open-air bazaars selling food, drinks, and clothes were open.